Leader of the Opposition McKeeva Bush says continued development in the Cayman Islands is essential for a good economy.
Speaking in the Legislative Assembly during the Budget debate last Friday, Mr. Bush said if it was not for developers and others in the construction industry, the economy would be ‘in an indescribable state of disarray’.
He accused the People’s Progressive Movement of a divergence of policies when it came to developers.
‘These are the same investors the PPM would like to get rid of on one hand and in the same breath seek to attract,’ he said.
Developers are also finding it more frustrating to do business in the Cayman Islands because of red tape, bureaucracy and increased costs.
‘Unfortunately, the PPM Government fails to understand that investment and development in our country… is essential,’ he said. ‘Increasing red tap and increasing criticism and animosity for persons who contribute significantly to our development is short-sighted, counter-productive and downright dangerous.’
Mr. Bush said that had it not been for the investments made by other in Cayman’s financial and tourism industry, the Cayman Islands would not be where it is today.
Caymanians would not really want to go back to the way it was here before.
‘There is always talk of going back to the good old days, but no one wants to get in a cat boat to get from one side of the island to the other,’ he said. ‘People say they like a good fish tea from a cook rum, too, but believe you me, those weren’t good days.’
Mr. Bush suggested that those who wish to live in the past should spend a couple of months on the outer undeveloped islands of some other Caribbean islands.
‘They will figure out how difficult it is to make sufficient money to have a decent standard of living and to educate their children without people and without economic activity,’ he said.
In addition to development and investment, the Cayman Islands needs the financial industry and people to work in that industry, Mr. Bush said, and he accused the PPM of driving away them both away to countries like Canada and Ireland.
‘Never before in my lifetime has our society been so divided,’ he said. ‘Flowery speeches, a change of policies, anti-foreigner rhetoric, economic policies ,which encourage those working amongst us to leave and cease investing and spending money earned in our Islands, are resonating through our economy.’
Mr. Bush said increased stamp duties on the transfer of land and a change in immigration policies is preventing high-income workers from investing in the country.
‘Many Caymanian developers are experiencing difficulties in selling their developments and a key area of our economy, which our citizens were competing in an effective and efficient manner has been all but shut down.’